The fifth-generation (5G) revolution represents more than a mere performance enhancement of previous generations: it will deeply transform the way humans and/or machines interact, enabling a heterogeneous expansion in the number of use cases and services. Crucial to the realization of this revolution is the design of hardware components characterized by high degrees of flexibility, versatility and resource/power efficiency. This chapter proposes a field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-oriented baseband processing architecture suitable for fast-changing communication environments such as 4G/5G waveform coexistence, noncontiguous carrier aggregation (CA) or centralized cloud radio access network (C-RAN) processing. The proposed architecture supports three 5G waveform candidates and is shown to be upgradable, resource-efficient and cost-effective. Through hardware virtualization, enabled by dynamic partial reconfiguration (DPR), the design space exploration of our architecture exceeds the hardware resources available on the Zynq xc7z020 device. Moreover, dynamic frequency scaling (DFS) enables the runtime adjustment of processing throughput and power reductions by up to 88%. The combined resource overhead for DPR and DFS is very low, and the reconfiguration latency stays two orders of magnitude below the control plane latency requirements proposed for 5G communications.
Part of the book: Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) II